A woman unwittingly sent money to the killers of her own brother while they had sex around his rotting corpse, a court heard yesterday.
Maureen Sinclair received several messages from former Manchester teacher Kenneth Chapman’s handset saying: ”I need a big favour. I need you to put some money in a friend’s account. He is a good friend. Try your best. You can do telephone banking. Big help for me.”
Thinking the texts came from her own brother, Mrs Sinclair wired a total of £75 to an account – not realising it belonged to Christopher Sawyers, 35, who with his girlfriend Kirsty Edmondson, 23, had just murdered former history teacher Chapman with a lethal dose of heroin, it was alleged.
At the time Sawyers and former call centre worker Edmondson had been using their 47-year old victim’s flat in Eccles, near Salford, Greater Manchester as their ‘exclusive preserve,’ a jury was told.
They ordered goods on his Amazon account using his mobile phone and taking ‘selfies’ of each other as his corpse lay nearby, it was said.
Police were called after Sawyers offered to show one of the selfies to a friend saying: ‘Look at this. I will show you a photo of a corpse.”
The victim was found dead on January 12 this year – 15 days after he was killed and eight days after his killers had moved out.
Manchester Crown Court was told Chapman – a keen cross country runner from Cocksburnpath, near Berwick Upon Tweed – had lived with his parents until 1982.
At 16 he joined the army and went in the Ordnance Corps and then the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers but left the forces in 1989 and went to Durham University to study history and politics.
He was employed as a history teacher in Manchester from 1994-2007 but lost his job when he was sent to prison for 18 months for a sexual offence.
In 2009 he was released and in October 2013 he sold his property making an £18,000 profit and moved to his flat. He had been dating Edmondson after meeting her at a bus stop but she was also dating Sawyers in a ‘relationship of necessity’.
In a statement Mrs Sinclair said: ”Kenneth and I had always been very close siblings. I have a son, Paul, and he and Kenneth were close. He would take him away on holidays and for days out. It was a huge shock when Kenneth went to prison. He had been an upstanding member of society and was set in his ways.
“He never married or had a long term partner and didn’t have children. His only remaining family is myself and my son Paul. Kenneth’s great passion in life was running.
”He was a member of Salford Harriers and had ran in the army and completed marathons, half marathons and cross country. He kept a very detailed running journal recording every run he did. He would run over 100 miles per week.
“Prison really affected him. When he came out he got office work. He worked in the Post Office but he couldn’t work for them again when they realised he had a criminal record. Kenneth was a bit down after mum died in 2012, particularly in the summer and Autumn of 2013.
“He drove up to see me on December 6 and stayed with Paul. He had to register addresses as part of the conditions of his release. He didn’t talk much about his personal life but he had a girlfriend Kirsty.
”Paul advised Kenneth to get the door key back as she could be screwing the flat over. He had met Kirsty at a bus stop. I met her when he brought her up and they stayed at mum’s.
”She had worked in a call centre and was from Barrow. I did not know her surname until I became worried about my brother.
“He had a Facebook with only one friend on the page and that was Kirsty Edmondson. Kenneth had Christmas lunch with us on December 8 and left the morning after.
”He made plans for him to return over Christmas. I know that Ken had bought Kirsty Edmondson gifts and he said he was filling an MP3 player with music.
“He came back to Scotland on December 23 in the car and stayed with Paul but on Christmas day stayed with me. He said he had the key back so she could only get in when he was there.
“I knew he didn’t want to be with her anymore but he would always care for her. I think he ended the relationship. I last saw him on Boxing Day. He had been in a good mood over Christmas.”
Chapman last texted his sister on December 27 when he said he hadn’t arrived home, but had completed a 16 mile, two-hour run in Durham.
She then received a text from his phone on New Year’s Eve – four days after his death which read: “Hope you have a good new year. I enjoyed our Christmas, just wish there was one more person with us. I would like to come up soon. Having trouble with Kirsty and don’t know what to do. When you text back I need a big favour. X”
The text message exchange then read:
K-M “I need you to put some money in a friend’s account as my internet is down. I’ll transfer back as soon as possible. Need to go to a race as well. Can you do it as he needs it right now.”
M-K: “Depends how much, don’t know if I can without details being registered in phone.”
K-M: “45. I will give you extra for doing it. Should I send details?”
M-K: “I don’t think I can as in Wales and cant get to bank. Send details, will phone RBS to see if they can do it.”
K-M: “Yes you can to telephone banking, will send you £70 tomorrow. Big help for me. Thanks. I have a race but he is a good friend. Try your best please.”
Later there were 13 texts which read:
K-M: “I have this race now so can’t text again. Will get you extra for the trouble. Talk tonight.”
M-K: “It’s done. He should have the money now. Good luck with the race.”
K-M: “Thanks I should win that race. How much did you put in for him? I am running and texting. Lol.”
M-K: “£45. Is that right?”
K-M: “Can you do me a favour and put some more in? I will sort it. Put in another 30 or 40, what you can afford.”
M-K: “I can do another 30 but you said 45. What do you owe him for?”
K-M: “I am helping him out he needs a hotel.”
M-K: “Ok, will do another 30.”
K-M: “Can you not do the 40? I know I’m asking a lot but will put 150 back in for you.”
M-K: “The other 30 has left my account so hopefully you will get it today.”
The last text was sent at 13.16. Later the pair were caught on CCTV driving around Salford in his car where they also attempted to withdraw £100 from his bank account.
Sawyers denies murdering Chapman and pleads not guilty to the manslaughter of former accountant Peter Clark, 60, who died from a heroin overdose in July 2012. Edmondson denies murdering Chapman. The trial continues.